Legarda on Improving DRR Legislation: Strengthen Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems

March 14, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today said that strengthening multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWS) is one area where legislation for disaster risk reduction (DRR) can be improved.


Legarda, who was a panelist for the Parliamentary Meeting on Governance and Legislation for DRR organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), said that legislation for MHEWS will make a difference in reducing disaster risks and building the resilience of nations and communities.


“We need to effectively reduce disaster risk as it becomes more complex given the increasing frequency, intensity and uncertainty of extreme hazard events. A more holistic and integrated approach to early warning is needed. This approach entails the provision of impact-based forecasts and risk-informed warnings through multi-hazard early warning systems,” she said.


The Senator, who is also a UNISDR Champion, explained that multi-hazard early warning systems inform the people of the potential impacts of impending natural hazards, the risks on their lives and livelihoods, and the action they should take.


“This approach promotes public awareness and understanding of impacts and risks from natural hazards, and guides the people and sectors at risk in making decisions and taking early actions. Legislation in strengthening MHEWS could ensure that early warning services reach the ‘last mile’ such as the most remote and vulnerable populations, providing them with timely, meaningful and actionable warning information,” Legarda stressed.


She further explained that legislation could help close the gaps in coordination among stakeholders, inadequate public awareness and participation, and insufficient political and financial support.


Furthermore, legislation on MHEWS could ensure that early warning services of hydro-meteorological services are authoritative, science-based, risk-informed, operational round-the-clock, and made available to and actionable by the people, groups and sectors at risk.


“Times do change. Disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity and are significantly impeding progress towards sustainable development. We cannot be content with what we have now, we have to do more and that is what we aim here in Sendai as we adopt a new DRR framework that will help nations and communities reduce existing risks and prevent the creation of new risks. Legislators have a significant role. Legislators should be effective game changers in building disaster resilience,” Legarda concluded.